South Bronx Educational Complex
Mott Haven Village Prep, which has been in the building since 2002, is a very small high school with a warm and friendly atmosphere. The school helps students who enter high school with poor academic skills set their sights on college. Not everyone succeeds, and the graduation rate is below average for the city. But top students have gone on to small private colleges including Daemon, Connecticut College, Wheaton College and Franklin and Marshall.
University Heights Secondary School also has a friendly, collegial atmosphere; students call teachers by their first names. It is a small school with the academic variety found at a large school: college professors teach seven courses at the high school each semester, allowing students to earn up to 18 college credits before they leave. Top graduates have been admitted to highly selective colleges and have garnered an impressive number of scholarships. University Heights offers a range of after school options, including robotics club and a school farm where students may grow and sell vegetables.
The two school share sports teams and a beautifully renovated sports field. They also share a LYFE center (as does nearby Crotona Academy) where young mothers who attend the schools may drop off their kids during the day for free childcare.
South Bronx High School was plagued by safety issues. Students who attended had to cross a public park to get to school and were vulnerable to robberies and bullying. Although a handful of students succeeded and even excelled at South Bronx, the vast majority were too discouraged by the daily challenges of their lives to finish high school. The school graduated its last class in 2005.
However, on our 2012 visit to the South Bronx High School Complex, we found the building to be calm and welcoming. Students and teachers from both schools responded to the 2012 Learning Environment Survey that they feel safe at school. Mott Haven Village Prep prinicpal William Doyle told Insideschools: "The neighborhood has gotten a lot better. Yeah, we’re South Bronx, but it’s better than it was. (Anna Schneider, November 2012)